Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's voice resounded in the state assembly on Thursday, when he took on the opposition for "targeting" Jacob Thomas, the head of Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
Moving an adjournment motion, MLA M Vincent sought to bring to attention the many allegations of corruption against the IPS officer, whose appointment in June last year was made soon after the CPI (M)-led LDF government came to power.
"Jacob Thomas, who is known as the crusader against corruption, has himself amassed disproportionate assets. Who will take on the officer?" MLA Vincent asked.
However, CM Pinarayi Vijayan was quick to back the officer. Pinarayi said that Jacob Thomas cannot be removed from his post, purely based on allegations raised in a media report.
"Too many persons are awaiting his removal. Their wishes are not going to materialise. As the Director of Vigilance, he has taken strict action against many. If Jacob Thomas is at fault, the government will not protect him," the CM said.
The opposition raised the issue in the Assembly following several media reports that Jacob Thomas was holding undisclosed property of 50 acres in Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu.
The Times of India reported on March 14 that the said property was registered in Jacob Thomas' name, but "the address given in the registration document is that of a major transporter in Kochi."
The property, purchased in 2001, continues to be in his name (according to property documents that TOI claim to have possession of), and he disclosed the details of the property in 2002 and 2003, states the report. However, at both times, Jacob Thomas said that the property was under his wife Daisy Jacob's name, although it is not so. The report also states that the details of this property does not figure in the disclosure of assets as on January 1, 2017.
Pinarayi backing Jacob Thomas yet again, appears to have put an end to speculations that the Vigilance Director may be replaced soon. Media reports indicated that a rejig of top IAS and IPS officers were on the cards.
The CM had even in the past, made his stand clear on the matter, invariably shielding Jacob Thomas against corruption allegations. Last October, Jacob Thomas had even offered to resign from his post, but the government had refused to budge.
Among the allegations against the officer, are charges of misappropriation during his tenure as the Ports Director.